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Cervical Screening Awareness Week


cervical cancer ribbon

1 in 4 people don’t attend their cervical screening tests in the UK. With Cervical Screening Awareness Week, we want to help change this. By raising awareness about cervical screening and cervical cancer, let’s make the cervical screening process a little less scary! 


In this guide, find out everything you need to know about getting involved during Cervical Screening Awareness Week.


  • Cervical Screening Awareness Week 
  • Why Going to a Cervical Screening Appointment is Important
  • How the Cervical Screening Process Works
  • Tips and Advice for Your Next Cervical Screening Test
  • How to Get Involved This Cervical Screening Awareness Week 
  • Take Part in Cervical Screening Awareness Week This Year

Cervical Screening Awareness Week 

Cervical Screening Awareness Week is held between 17th – 23rd June 2024. Extending Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, the aim of this week is to educate people on the importance of going to a cervical screening and spread cervical cancer awareness. By sharing posters on social media, telling your story about cervical screening, and talking about it with others, you can help raise awareness of cervical screenings and encourage others to attend their appointments. 


This year, Cervical Screening Awareness Week focuses on sharing stories of cervical screening experiences. There is a lack of information about the different experiences people may have of cervical screening testing so, this year, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is aiming to increase the information available to people by encouraging anyone who has had a cervical screening test to share their story. 


Everyone has a different experience with cervical screening due to their own circumstances. For example, a cervical screening test might look different for someone who has just given birth compared to someone who has gone through menopause. By sharing these stories, anyone who is nervous about their cervical screening appointment will be able to read about other people’s experiences and hopefully feel more at ease. 

Why Going to a Cervical Screening Appointment is Important

Cervical screening tests look for the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix. Although cell changes in the cervix are common, sometimes treatment may be needed as these cells could develop into cervical cancer. Abnormal cell changes in the cervix have no symptoms, so you may not know if there is something to be concerned about unless you have a cervical screening. 


This is why it is crucial you attend a cervical screening appointment, as it means you can detect any issues early and seek treatment as early as possible to prevent abnormal cells from developing into cancer. Even if you have already had the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, you should still get tested as this vaccination only protects you from the most common types of HPV, not all. 

How the Cervical Screening Process Works

If you are eligible for cervical screening, the NHS will contact you with an appointment time. If you are between the ages of 25 and 64 and have a cervix, you will be offered a cervical screening or smear test. 


It must be noted that if you are registered as male with a GP but have a cervix, you might not be sent an invitation. You should contact your GP and enquire about a cervical screening test to ensure you receive an invitation. 


You will be given some information explaining the cervical screening test process before your test. You don’t need to prepare yourself for the appointment other than to avoid any vaginal medication, lubricants, or creams at least two days before your scheduled test. 


If you are worried about your upcoming cervical screening, it’s best to talk to someone. Whether that be a friend, relative, or a healthcare professional, they will be there to offer advice and guide you through the process. 

Next Steps

After your cervical screening test, the sample taken at your appointment will be sent to a laboratory for testing. The sample may be tested slightly differently depending on where you get tested. 


For example, if you get tested in England, Scotland, or Wales, your sample will first be tested for HPV. If your sample has been found to have a high risk of HPV, it will then be checked for abnormal cells. 


However, if you get tested in Northern Ireland, your sample will first be tested for abnormal cells. 


Nevertheless, the aim of a cervical smear test is to identify the people who may need treatment to prevent cancer. 

Tips and Advice for Your Next Cervical Screening Test

Whether it is your first cervical screening appointment or your 100th, cervical screening can be daunting for everyone. If you are worried about a cervical screening test, here are some tips to hopefully put you more at ease. 


  • Ask For a Longer Appointment: Having a longer appointment might put you more at ease. It can give you time to ask any questions and you will feel less pressure as you will have more time to relax. 
  • Bring Someone with You: This might not be for everyone, but bringing someone you trust to an appointment could help you feel more comfortable. They can either wait in the waiting room or go to the cervical screening test with you. 
  • Wear a Skirt or Dress: Wearing a skirt or dress can make you feel more covered during the appointment. It is also easier to manage than other clothing items, giving you one less thing to think about during your test.
  • Talk to Your Nurse: If you have any questions or concerns, you can always ask your nurse for help!
  • Ask for a Smaller Speculum: Some people find the speculum scary, so asking for a smaller one can put your mind at ease and make you feel more comfortable during the cervical screening test. 

How to Get Involved This Cervical Screening Awareness Week 

Get involved this Cervical Screening Awareness Week! There are a range of ways to participate, so there’s something for everyone. 


  • Raise Awareness: There are plenty of ways to spread awareness during Cervical Screen Week. Whether that be sharing posts about cervical screening tests via social media, sharing educational posters, or simply talking openly about cervical screening, raising awareness can be as easy as having a chat, so why not give it a try?

  • Set Up a Partnership or Fundraising Event: Joining a fundraising event or simply creating your own can help raise funds for a range of support services. For example, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is a charity that provides helpful information and advice to those dealing with cervical cancer. 

  • Talk About Cervical Screening: Talking more openly about cervical screening could help those around you. Whether you decide to chat with a close relative or friend or feel comfortable sharing your experience on social media, sharing your experience can help those who find cervical screening tests difficult feel more at ease. 

  • Wear a Cervical Cancer Ribbon: Wear a teal and white cervical cancer ribbon to show your support! 

  • Share on Social Media: If you share cervical screening posts online, why not use one of the hashtags, such as #LetsTalkScreening, #CervicalScreeningAwarenessWeek, or #CSAW2024? 

Take Part in Cervical Screening Awareness Week This Year

Get involved in Cervical Screening Awareness Week this year by raising awareness, setting up a fundraising event, talking about cervical screening with someone, and sharing on social media. The more we raise awareness for cervical screening, the more people feel at ease during their next appointment.


Check out our health information guides from Home Health today to stay informed about your health!


What is cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer occurs in the cervix. Anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer, which is why it is important to go to a cervical screening appointment to detect any abnormal cell changes before they turn into cancer. As cervical cancer progresses very slowly, it is one type of cancer that can be prevented. 

What causes cervical cancer?

Most cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are different types of HPV, with some causing changes to your cervix that can develop into cervical cancer. Other forms of HPV can lead to genital warts. HPV is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. 

Can you prevent cervical cancer?

There are two ways to prevent cervical cancer: cervical screening and HPV vaccinations. If you have a cervix, it is recommended you attend all cervical screening appointments to ensure any abnormal cell changes in the cervix are detected early to prevent cervical cancer. 


If you are a registered male with a GP but have a cervix, you should contact your GP to ensure you will be invited to a cervical screening, as you may be missed out.

What is a smear test?

A smear test or cervical screening is the test used to detect any abnormal cell changes in the cervix to help prevent cervical cancer. A small sample of cells will be taken from your cervix for testing. This sample will be sent to a laboratory and analysed for abnormal cells and the presence of HPV. 


If HPV is found to be present in your sample (a positive result), you will be contacted with the next steps. This can either be to be invited for another cervical screening in one year to see if there are any changes, or you may be asked to have a colposcopy. 

How often do you have a smear test?

Anyone with a cervix will be invited for a cervical screening. You will be invited to book an appointment between the ages of 25 to 64 via a letter in the post. The frequency you are invited for a cervical screening varies depending on your age. 


  • Under 25: Up to 6 months before you turn 25
  • 25 to 49: Every 3 years
  • 50 to 64: Every 5 years
  • 65 or older: Only if your most recent test was abnormal 

Does a smear test hurt?

Cervical screenings or smear tests can be daunting for a lot of people. For most people, the test is not painful but can be an uncomfortable experience. For others, it can be a painful experience due to a number of reasons, such as endometriosis, vaginismus, and other gynecological issues. 


If you have any concerns about your cervical screening appointment, it is best to talk to a relative or friend that you feel comfortable talking to or your nurse, as they will be able to answer any questions. 

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